Alghero, the capital of the Coral Riviera, has preserved to this day the traditions and language of Catalonia, which ruled it for centuries. But its origins stretch much farther back in time, as witnessed by the remains of the Nuraghic fortresses of Palmavera and Sant’Imbenia. Other outstanding heritage sites are the prehistoric rock cut-tombs or domus de janas of Santu Pedru and Anghelu Ruju, where ochre-red rock was used for blood and regeneration rites. Another outstanding attraction is the Sella & Mosca country life museum, on the wine estate of the same name. This winery produces some truly outstanding wines, such as Anghelu Ruju, an aged Cannonau, and Vermentino di Sardegna.
The marine protected area of Capo Caccia – Isola Piana has, at the base of the cliff, a spectacular sea cave, the Grotta di Nettuno, with amazing stalactites and stalagmites. Make sure you pay a visit to the MareNostrum Aquarium, with both sea and freshwater fishes, and to the Coral Museum. Alghero, a lively town year round, truly lets its hair down for the New Year celebrations: throughout December and well into January, the Cap d’Any de l’Alguer attracts people from all over Sardinia – and beyond – with a calendar packed with shows and concerts.
But the truest Alghero is perhaps to be seen during Easter Week, when the whole town joins in the fascinating rituals harking back to its Spanish traditions.